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Cabbage & Tumbo Islands | BC

I didn’t write much or take many (well, any) photos in Nanaimo. We got in late. It was raining. We dinghied over to the Dinghy Dock Pub and shared a caesar salad and some fish and chips and then dinghied back to Airship in the dark. In the morning it was gray and drizzly and we pulled the anchor and motored on while I cooked breakfast. Nothing wrong with any of that…it was fun, it just wasn’t very photogenic.

The original route that I’d plotted down to Cabbage & Tumbo Islands took us on the outside of Gabriola Island, Galiano Island, Mayne Island, etc…to Cabbage & Tumbo which are on the outside of Saturna Island. We did this because we wanted to avoid going through Dodd Narrows with over 6 knots against us (and because we didn’t want to wait a couple hours for better timing). However, once we were on the outside of Gabriola the conditions were pretty choppy and would continue to be more and more on our beam the further we went…and so we opted to go through Gabriola Passage with some current against us (just over 4 knots). We made it fine…avoiding the bigger eddies and whirlpools easily.

Ahhhh, much calmer on the inside route. We figured we might change our plan and stay at Winter Cove or Lyall Harbour (two places we haven’t stayed before) but when we checked the tides, it looked like we’d be arriving at Winter Cove just a few minutes before slack and therefore easily able to go through the teeny tiny little pass-through at Winter Cove out into the Strait of Georgia (called Boat Passage) and on to Cabbage & Tumbo Islands. Hard to pass up a new, narrow passage with rocks to avoid!

Here’s a Navionics screenshot showing Winter Cove and it’s position relative to Cabbage & Tumbo Islands (Winter Cove is the really round cove, upper left on Saturna Island. Cabbage & Tumbo Islands are the ones off the lower right shore of Saturna Island:


Here’s Boat Passage on the Navionics chart (charted rocks in red):


Kevin’s brother was playing a concert that happened to be streaming live online, and we happened to be getting good enough internet data to stream it, so along the last part of our cruise we were watching the concert on Kevin’s laptop with audio bluetoothed to Airship’s stereo system. It was a new concerto written by Joel Puckett and performed by the UT Wind Ensemble (with special guest Craig Morris) at the Bates Concert Hall in Austin. (How cool is the time we’re living in?? Also, if you click that link to Craig’s website, I took that portrait of him…it’s one of my faves.)

We grabbed a mooring ball in Reef Harbour and sat and watched the rest of the concert before heading out for a little dinghy exploration. We beached the dinghy on Cabbage Island and hiked around a bit.

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Not sea asparagus, but what is it?

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Sandstone texture on the beach:

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Hey! It’s Mt. Baker!


We’re grilling some brats and corn and I’ve got a couple of small potatoes in the oven. (Gotta get rid of the corn and potatoes before we cross back into the United States tomorrow.


  1. Kevin McLaughlin Kevin McLaughlin

    Welcome (almost) back ! Checked out Gabriola passage on my chart for depth…one fathom? Used a Noaa chart 18400_1 so not fine detail. Did flood tide put more water under you?

    • Thanks! 🙂 We had 20-30ft most of the time in Gabriola Passage…

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